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Cabinet reshuffle still unclear: Abdullah

KUALA LUMPUR, 18 Dec 2008: Whether there will be a Cabinet reshuffle still remains hazy as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has admitted not having decided on the matter.

Abdullah told a press conference at the Parliament building here today that he was not certain whether to make a cabinet reshuffle or not.

“I’m not sure about this….I cannot comment on it now,” he said when asked about the matter.

Abdullah, during his official visit to Turkmenistan in November, did not dismiss the possibility of making a Cabinet reshuffle involving filling up the vacant posts and making changes to some of the portfolios soon.

Asked to comment on a blogsite report that he would not be handing over his post to his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in March, Abdullah said he had been hearing all kinds of rumours about himself.

“How do they know? It’s just a rumour. I have been an object of rumours for a long time until now,” he said.

Abdullah is expected to hand over the premiership to Najib next March in accordance with the power transition plan as agreed in Umno.

On his mission before stepping down and how to achieve it, Abdullah said he was focusing on the economy, race relations and religious conflicts.

“We all know that racial and religious issues are sensitive issues and if they are not handled properly, they can spread and create various adverse possibilities.

“So, they must be given attention and I had stated before that I wanted to deal with these issues if time permitted me to do so. It is good if there is a mechanism to deal with arising racial and religious issues from time to time to avoid conflicts among different believers,” he said.

Besides that, Abdullah said, he wanted to ensure that the people had enough food supply.

“Let us have enough food. It’s okay if we can’t buy new clothes, new cars and new sofas, but the people must have enough food. That’s important.

“Secondly, the people must feel peace and not fear or their positions being threatened. I want the people to feel safe from any threats.

“If all this can be ensured for the people, we can concentrate on other areas that can give us strength,” he said.

Abdullah said the passing of two bills in the Dewan Rakyat on corruption and judicial appointments could restore public confidence in the country’s anti-corruption agency and judicial institution.

Expressing his happiness over the passing of the two Bills, he said with the existence of bodies with higher integrity, the people would be more confident of their effectiveness.

Yesterday, the Dewan Rakyat passed the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Bill 2008 and Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) Bill 2008.

These two bills are expected to be tabled in the Dewan Negara soon for the bills to be passed to enable them to be gazetted and implemented next year. — Bernama


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